The progressive tenses (also called continuous tenses) in Spanish indicate explicit duration: that is, they indicate that the action was in progress at the time of reference.
The English progressive tenses typically are used in the same way. However, in some cases the English progressive tenses are used to state an intended future action rather than a current action: for example: "I'm leaving Friday morning on the 10am flight."
The Spanish progressive tenses cannot show intention in this manner: the equivalent sentence in Spanish must use a non-progressive tense: "Salgo el viernes en el vuelo de las diez de la mañana".
Just as in English, all of the simple verb forms have progressive counterparts. The progressive form that corresponds to a simple verb form is constructed from the corresponding simple form of the verb estar followed by the present participle (the -ndo form) of the main verb.
|Simple tense||Example||Progressive tense||Example||Translation|
|infinitive||hablar||progressive infinitive||estar hablando||to be speaking|
|past participle||hablado||past progressive participle||estado hablando||been speaking|
|present participle||hablando||present progressive participle||estando hablando||being speaking|
|present indicative||habla||present progressive||está hablando||He/She is speaking / You are speaking|
|imperfect||hablaba||imperfect progressive||estaba hablando||He/She was/would be speaking / You were/would be speaking|
|preterit||habló||preterit progressive||estuvo hablando||He/She was speaking /You were speaking|
|future||hablará||future progressive||estará hablando||He/She/You will be speaking|
|conditional||hablaría||conditional progressive||estaría hablando||He/She/You would be speaking|
|present subjunctive||hable||present subjunctive progressive||esté hablando||He/She is/be speaking / You are/be speaking|
|past subjunctive||hablara/hablase||past subjunctive progressive||estuviera/estuviese hablando||He/She was/were speaking / You were speaking|
Similarly, all of the compound verb forms have progressive counterparts. The compound progressive form of a compound verb is constructed by replacing the past participle of the main verb with the corresponding progressive past participle.
|Perfect tense||Example||Progressive perfect tense||Example||Translation|
|infinitive perfect||haber hablado||infinitive perfect progressive||haber estado hablando||to have been speaking|
|past perfect participle||habido hablado||past perfect progressive participle||habido estado hablando||had been speaking|
|present perfect participle||habiendo hablado||present perfect progressive participle||habiendo estado hablando||having been speaking|
|present perfect||ha hablado||present perfect progressive||ha estado hablando||He/She has been speaking / You have been speaking|
|pluperfect||había hablado||pluperfect progressive||había estado hablando||He/She had been speaking / You had been speaking|
|past anterior *||hubo hablado||past anterior progressive *||hubo estado hablando||He/She had been speaking /You had been speaking|
|future perfect||habrá hablado||future perfect progressive||habrá estado hablando||He/She/You will have been speaking|
|conditional perfect||habría hablado||conditional perfect progressive||habría estado hablando||He/She/You would have been speaking|
|present perfect subjunctive||haya hablado||present perfect subjunctive progressive||haya estado hablando||He/She has/have been speaking / You have been speaking|
|pluperfect subjunctive||hubiera/hubiese hablado||pluperfect subjunctive progressive||hubiera/hubuese estado hablando||He/She had been speaking / You had been speaking|
Just as the past anterior (hubo hablado) is rarely used except in literary contexts, the past anterior progressive (hubo estado hablando) also is rarely used except in literary contexts.